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Residual Functional Capacity and Your SSDI Claim

If you have a disabling medical condition that will prevent you from working for 12 months or longer, you may be eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Unfortunately, the SSDI application process is anything but intuitive. In fact, for some applicants, it can be complicated and downright frustrating. Many people who apply for disability benefits have their claim denied the first time, often due to mistakes made during the application process.

The Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment is one form that’s both particularly important to your SSDI claim and especially tricky. You need an exceptionally skillful Social Security disability attorney based in New York to help you ensure that your RFC—and the rest of your SSDI application—is completed correctly the first time. At O’Connor Law PLLC, we assist clients in fighting for the disability benefits they deserve.

Understanding Residual Functional Capacity

To make sure that your medical condition meets its definition of disability, the SSA will have you complete an RFC form. This is a comprehensive assessment of what you can still do despite your disability, as well as the limitations you have as a result of your condition.

It’s in your best interest to have the doctor who’s treating you complete the RFC form for you. Otherwise, a claims adjuster and consulting physician at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will do it—and they’re usually much more critical of claims for benefits.

When you hire O’Connor Law PLLC to represent you, we work with you and your doctor to ensure that your RFC is as accurate and thorough as possible—fully conveying your abilities, limitations, and need for SSDI. Depending on your disability, your RFC could cover physical limitations, mental limitations, or a combination of the two.

Physical Limitations

In a physical RFC, the first step is to determine your exertional level, or whether you can do sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy work. Some of the things considered when assessing your exertional level include:

  • Standing for an extended period of time
  • Sitting for an extended period of time
  • Pushing or pulling objects
  • Carrying objects
  • Walking long distances
  • Stooping
  • Climbing
  • Kneeling or crouching
  • Crawling

The next step evaluates your ability to complete non-strength-related tasks that could affect your employment opportunities such as:

  • Hearing
  • Speaking
  • Seeing (including depth perception and color vision)
  • Using your hands and fingers to type, write, and reach for objects
  • Working in wet or humid conditions
  • Working in extreme temperatures
  • Working in locations with lung irritants like dust or fumes

Mental Limitations

If your application for SSDI benefits lists mental or cognitive deficits, you’ll be evaluated on your ability to do the following:

  • Make simple decisions
  • Understand and follow directions
  • Be punctual and perform tasks on a schedule
  • Complete a routine with minimal supervision
  • Get along with co-workers and peers
  • Respond appropriately to criticism
  • Keep interactions with the public socially acceptable
  • Maintain acceptable neatness and cleanliness standards
  • React to change appropriately
  • Recognize workplace hazards and follow safety rules

Let Our Team of Highly-Skilled Attorneys Help Prepare Your SSDI Application

Just having an attorney sends a message to the SSA that they need to take your claim seriously. As longtime Social Security disability attorneys, we know the SSDI application process inside and out—and we’re ready to put our extensive knowledge and experience to work on your behalf.

O’Connor Law PLLC can assist you with your disability claim from start to finish. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss the details of your claim, as well as your legal rights and options.

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